reply to post by okbmd
There are lots of indian artifacts in the area (arrowheads, celts, pottery shards, that sort of thing) that are still turned up by the farmers' plows
every spring. This ridge and the one adjacent to the west seem particularly artifact heavy.
The Shawnee used a strip running down through WV, Southwest VA, and into eastern Kentucky as hunting grounds, and the same area was claimed by the
Cherokee. The last major battle between those two tribes over that territory was fought in 1769 on a mountainside near Tazewell, VA, which the locals
still call "the War Gap". the name "Kentucky" is alleged to come from the Shawnee, and originally covered this entire swath of hunting grounds.
As near as I can tell, the Clinch River in Southwest VA was the de facto dividing line between the two tribes, with both claiming both sides of it,
but only having real control of their respective sides. When Richard Henderson bought Kentucky from the Cherokees, one of the Cherokee "sellers"
flat out told him that now that he'd bought it, his problem was going to be keeping it.
The Shawnee refused to settle there for the most part, because of an ancient legend that the Shawnee had wiped out an entire race of red-haired giants
in the area called the "Azgens", and they maintained that the spirits of the Azgens were still pretty ticked off at them, and would allow no
settlement, only allowing hunting to feed the women and children when hunger threatened. There was one Shawnee settlement in eastern KY named
Eskippakithiki ("blue waters place") for about 20 years, but it never became a permanent settlement. Bulltown, in Braxton Co., WV is claimed to have
been Shawnee, but was probably Delaware. It was erased by white settlers,who killed off all the inhabitants.
I mention this bit of history to explain why I don't really think most of the artifacts there are either Shawnee or Cherokee, but rather probably
from an earlier tribe, such as the Conoy, or maybe even the Azgens. Most ancient legends have at least a grain of truth to build the legend on. This
doesn't look like any of the Indian remains I've sen from that part of the world, but that by itself can't preclude a whole new design, or an
The paintings on the rock at Paint Lick Mountain (near the War Gap) are heavily weighted towards thunderbirds, sunrises or sunsets, and stick figures
in canoes, interspersed with animals like turtles and beavers. I'm not as familiar with the WV petroglyphs, though. I've not seen anything like this
on indian artifacts, so if that's the case, it would be pretty unique.
In sw VA, where I was raised, the geology is mostly karst - limestone and diorite. This rock LOOKs like some sort of diorite, of a grayish color with
a bluish tinge. Not being familiar with the geology of this area, I can't say whether diorite is found in any appreciable quantities.
Slate always looked to me to be some sort of dense, compacted shale, with the layers cleaving tighter together. I've seen both blue and red forms of
it back home, and this rock doesn't look like either one. The grain is coarser than slate, which DOES make pretty good whetstones.
I've tinkered with pecking and grinding (mostly limestone and diorite), and don't think this was made by that method. Pecking usually leaves a "U"
shaped channel, and in this carving, in the outer circle in particular, the bottom corners, while somewhat rounded, have a sharper angle than I would
expect if it had been pecked out.
as a side note, just imagine how frustrating it is to peck out a little celt, maybe 3 or 4 inches long, and be mighty nigh finished after 4 or 5 days
of meticulous pecking, only to have one of the final finishing blows turn it into a handful of gravel right before your eyes.